A Clark County program aimed at getting drug abusing kids out of detention facilities and into rehabilitation programs has been saved from the chopping block.
The Department of Juvenile Justice Services longstanding Drug Court and Substance Abuse Assessment and Referral Program on July 1 lost $100,000 in federal funding threatening to close what officials have called a highly successful diversion program.
County officials are now using general operating funds and money from another federal grant to fill the gap.
“It’s a vital program,” said Juvenile Justice Services director John “Jack” Martin. “We know it’s vital. It has valuable tools that helps kids get on the right track.”
The year-long program, which has been around for almost two decades, will continue to serve the same number of youths — about 140 drug abusing kids who have been convicted of various nonviolent crimes.
Family Court Hearing Master Stephen Compan, who presides over the program, said it helps troubled youths by giving them the treatment and counseling they need to to get off drugs.
Last week, he had 40 juveniles in court and 38 of them tested clean for drugs.
“We have good weeks and bad weeks,” he said Friday.
And there is a financial benefit, too. For every $1 spent on drug court programs, $5 is saved by keeping kids out of detention facilities, Compan said. “It’s really good to see them try,” he said. “These are kids working to change their lives.”
Over the past two years, 500 kids have gone through the Drug Court program. During the same period, 70 percent successfully completed the program and were not re-arrested for a drug-related offense, according to officials.
After addressing the substance abuse issue, officials are then able to focus on other underlying problems, which could include mental health issues.
Now that the program will continue, Compan hopes that officials will be able to better track repeat offenders.
Meanwhile, Juvenile Justice Services recently applied for a $500,000 federal grant in the hopes of incorporating more family counseling, Compan said.
“Best practices shows that if you get the family more involved, the likelihood of success grows expeditiously, and that’s what we want to focus a little bit more on, if we can,” Compan said.
Contact Yesenia Amaro at email@example.com or 702-383-0440. Find her on Twitter: @YeseniaAmaro.